Every January, the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco turns into one enormous, bustling food hall for the Winter Fancy Food Show. Here you'll find all the latest food trends, and it's always fun to wander the aisles sampling the creative nibbles coming out — wheels of cheese rubbed with Earl Grey tea, crunchy broccoli snacks, zero-calorie noodles, and new products galore. It's best to come with an appetite.
After Emma and I tasted our way through the show (and wore out our feet in the process), we sat down to decide on our favorites. Without further ado, here are ten new foods coming out in 2015 that you should definitely have on your radar!
The honeycomb ice cream from L.A. Creamery is swirled with honeycomb made with organic blossom honey. Even with the honey, this ice cream wasn't too sweet and had a great creamy texture.
Veggie-Go Fruit and Vegetable Strips
Think "fruit leather" but with vegetables. These chewy, not-too-sweet strips were one of the first things we tasted at the show and we couldn't stop thinking about them, even hours later. Carrot-Apple-Ginger and Cinnamon Spice Beet were our clear favorites — we loved how you could really taste the vegetable and how well the savory flavors worked with the fruits and spices.
Fever-Tree Elderflower Tonic Water
We've always loved Fever-Tree's delicious tonic waters, but their newest version made with elderflower blew us away. It had the perfect balance of floral, sweet, and bitter, a bit reminiscent of fresh grapefruit — we could drink this tonic water just straight up. It's only available in the larger format bottles right now.
This year, Taza is launching a new line of flavored chocolate bars, a slight departure from their more hardcore Mexicano Discs and Single Origin Bars. Emma's favorite was the Toffee, Almond & Sea Salt pictured here. Also noteworthy was their 95% Wicked Dark. It was, indeed, quite wickedly dark, but it was also surprisingly nibble-worthy and full of fruity, floral flavors.
This is the same paste of red peppers and spices that the makers of Mama O's use in their much-loved line of kimchi. You can use it to make your own perfectly seasoned kimchi, or you can use it as a seasoning paste in your favorite stir-fries and other weeknight meals. We liked it straight off the tasting spoon!
Darkhorse Smoked Brown Sugars
Even just tasted plain, these smoked brown sugars from the same people who make smoked olive oil were great. It's an easy way to add smoky, bacon-y flavors to food without actually using bacon and would be great in a spice rub! We especially loved the spicy chili version, but the whiskey and original were awesome too.
Seattle chef Renee Erickson, of Boat Street Cafe and The Walrus and the Carpenter restaurants, has turned dried fruit into pickled works of art. The line contains pickled plums and pickled figs, but the pickled apricots with toasted curry were outstanding.
It's about time we expand beyond chicken stock and veggie broth! These pho concentrates are lightly seasoned — just enough — and we thought they were tasty enough to sip on their own. Add noodles and some thin slices of beef, and dinner is ready!
Imagine our surprise when we tasted some delicious jerky only to find out that it was made from ground meat! These packets of spice mixes can be mixed into sliced meat or ground meat and then dehydrated in an oven, smoker, or dehydrator. A great DIY option that lets you decide on your choice of meat.
We were both really blown away by this line of matcha-based lattes. They're just powder mixed with water, and yet the result is as creamy, smooth, and delicious as anything coming from a tea shop. We especially liked the slight sweetness from coconut sugar paired with the clean, grassy flavor of the matcha.
(Image credits: Christine Gallary; Emma Christensen)